New York judge expands Trump's gag order

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The New York judge presiding over former President Trump’s hush-money trial on Monday expanded a gag order to prevent him from commenting on family members of those involved inthe proceedings. 

Judge Huan Merchan expanded the order after prosecutors sought clarification last week following posts by Trump in which he attacked Merchan’s daughter on his Truth Social platform. The new order prohibits Trump from mentioning family members of the court and prosecutors. 

“It is no longer just a mere possibility or a reasonable likelihood that there exists a threat to the integrity of the judicial proceedings,” Merchan wrote in his amended gag order. “The threat is very real. Admonitions are not enough, nor is reliance on self-restraint.”


Donald Trump

Former President Donald Trump arrives at Manhattan criminal court to attend a pre-trial hearing on March 25, 2024, in New York.  A judge will weigh on Monday when the former president will go on trial. The judge overseeing the proceedings issued an amended gag order on Monday. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

“The average observer, must now, after hearing (the) Defendant’s recent attacks, draw the conclusion that if they become involved in these proceedings, even tangentially, they should worry not only for themselves, but for their loved ones as well,” he added. 

Merchan warned that sanctions will be imposed if Trump violates the order. 

The move came days after Trump attacked Merchan’s daughter, Loren Merchan, on social media. He claimed that the judge’s daughter, whose firm has worked on campaigns for President Joe Biden and other Democrats, had recently posted a photo on social media depicting her “obvious goal” of seeing him jailed.

“Judge Juan Merchan is totally compromised, and should be removed from this TRUMP Non-Case immediately,” he wrote Thursday. “His Daughter, Loren, is a Rabid Trump Hater, who has admitted to having conversations with her father about me, and yet he gagged me.”


Former president Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower in New York

Former president Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower in New York on Monday, April 3, 2023. Trump is expected to be booked and arraigned on Tuesday on charges arising from hush money payments during his 2016 campaign. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

In a Friday letter to the judge, prosecutors said witnesses and prospective jurors could likely fear similar attacks.

“Again, all citizens, called upon to participate in these proceedings, whether as a juror, a witness, or in some other capacity, must now concern themselves not only with their own personal safety, but with the safety and the potential for personal attacks upon their loved ones,” Merchan wrote. “That reality cannot be overstated.”

Trump’s legal team responded with a letter saying the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is misinterpreting the order.

“The Court cannot ‘direct’ President Trump to do something that the gag order does not require,” the letter said. “To ‘clarify or confirm’ the meaning of the gag order in the way the People suggest would be to expand it.”

A court sketch depicts former President Donald Trump appearing in a New York City courtroom in Manhattan

Former President Donald Trump appears in a New York City courtroom in New York on Feb. 15.  (Jane Rosenberg)


Judge Merchan is presiding over Trump’s upcoming trial in which he is accused of making hush-money payments during his 2016 presidential campaign. 

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